tv After Words CSPAN December 29, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm EST
.. >> up next on booktv, "after words" with guest host kim barker. propublica reporter and author of "the taliban shuffle." this week geraldo munoz and his book, "getting away with u.n. and the politics of pakistan. rnte the u.n. assistant secretary-general reports on the international inquiry he lit into the assassination of the formerta pakistani prime minist. the program is about one hour. >> host: welcome, ambassador.i it's a pleasure to be here with you to be talking about your new book. w i wanted to start with the obvious question which is what made you decide to write the book thank you hundred and -- ie
assassination of benazir bhutto, and immediately after i delivered the report to the secretary general, there was a change in government in my country, in chile. i was the ambassador of chile to the united nations. i'm a political appointee, and a new government came in of the opposition, so i had free time, first. and second, there were a lot of publishing houses interested in this story behind the scenes, beyond the report. and i took some notes, and i decided that i could write something a bit more exciting than a dry report and tell the people of the united states, pakistan ask the world -- and the world what had transpired during the investigation which was as important as what we actually wrote in the report. that's what led me to do that. and then there was also a
personal commitment to the story of benazir bhutto, because she had, in a sense, put her life at risk. and she knew that there were threats against her life. and nevertheless, there were high values for her, the recovery of democracy in pakistan, the idea of making the radicalization in pakistan a thing of the past controlling the armed forces and the part of the civilian government. all of that was very close to my own experience because i was a dissident against a dictatorship this my own country for almost 20 years, and i was even underground, and i felt very close to that story of benazir bhutto, and that's why that was another motive to write it. >> host: can you talk some about how it deferred from the commission report that caused a huge controversy when it came out in pakistan a few years ago if.
>> guest: right. it differs quite a bit in the sense that i go into the history of pakistan. in cases of political impunity, political assassinations, i go into the story of benazir bhutto and her family which is a story unto itself a bit like the kennedys, the equivalent of the kennedys in pakistan with a lot of tragedy into it, by the way, because today out of that whole family, her father was killed by a dictator in the late '70s. and the two brothers, younger brothers of benazir bhutto also died violent deaths. the only person that survives is a sister who was not involved in politics. and when you look at the kennedys, it's something like that. so there were these elements that i wanted to bring to the fore that were by no means in the report. and also a reflection that is
not in the report either about the relationship between the united states and pakistan. because the united states has been a critical actor in pakistan since the birth of pakistan in 1947 after the partition between india and pakistan. so all of those elements make up good three-fourths of the book, and -- but there is one part, the assassination, the day of the assassination where we go, you know, hour by hour about what's going on with benazir bhutto, with her convoy, arriving to the political rally after which she was assassinated. all of that is based in the report, but it's a very small part compared to what the book is all about. >> host: right, right, right. no, i found that part particularly interesting, you know, getting every minute of what was happening. i did find it interesting, also, how you started the book. and i actually have to say i
laughed out loud. having been there, in pakistan, during this entire time you start the book with it's january 2009. you're on vacation with your wife in chile, and you describe getting an urgent, quote quote-unquote, call from the u.n. secretary-general's office about heading up this commission. and what made me laugh is the whole idea that it's an urgent call, and it's coming, you know, more than a year after the actual assassination of benazir bhutto. can you talk about the challenges of going in -- and then you didn't even end up going there until july. can you talk about the challenges of trying to investigate this so long after the fact? >> guest: uh-huh. well, it was not only a challenging investigation in the sense that it was, you know, no less than the assassination of a former prime minister -- >> host: right. >> guest: -- who was an international leader, but also this was a commission service that was not going to establish penal responsibilities about who
committed the crime. it was going to establish the facts and the circumstances. so it was not going to be a tribunal. >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: which, obviously, meant that it didn't have the force that a tribunal would have. we wouldn't be able to simply command testimonies from individuals. we would have to do it on a voluntary basis. and at the same time, i thought it was a very challenging situation because public opinion would expect that our report would point to the smoking gun about who did it. >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: so i thought it was sort of a loose situation. my president, when i asked for permission -- because i was a sitting ambassador. this was highly unusual that a sitting ambassador would be charged with such a high responsibility. my president who had been, actually, contacted by the
widower of benazir bhutto so that there would be international support to this request of the investigation which turned into an official request by the time the widower of benazir bhutto became president of pakistan said to me, yes, do it. this is good for chile, this speaks highly of our prestige and of our -- my own personal trajectory. be and going into pakistan it was very difficult because the leaking of information was one of the main obstacles that we had to our task. our task was, obviously, very -- [inaudible] and the minute we arrived i was -- in fact, as we were flying to islamabad, about to fly from jfk, i was told that my computer had been hacked. my chief of staff. and that perhaps we should suspend the trip to pakistan. and i said, no, we have to go.
and on a stopover in dubai, the department of security and safety of the united nations recommended that i would not go out of the red zone of islamabad, the sort of safe zone of islamabad -- >> host: i had no idea there was a red zone of islamabad. >> guest: there is a security zone. and i said, no, because i wanted to go a suburb of islam baz where benazir bhutto had been assassinated. i thought it was fundamental for us, for our commission to go and see the site and speak to police and speak to witnesses. so we ended up doing that, and in order to avoid the press from following us or anybody that might want us harm, we decided on a ploy putting in a program that we would go at 3:00 the next day, and we ended up going at 5 a.m. in a convoy.
and it was all fine and good until we arrived there, and the police put -- located about, you know, two blocks a perimeter so that nobody could access the place where we were. and, but we saw people, you know, like two blocks away, and we couldn't find out. and one of the commissioners was the former deputy police chief for ireland told me, you know, you know who they are? i said, i don't know, can't distinguish. they're journalists. >> host: god forbid. [laughter] >> guest: they are a bunch of journalists with cameras and with telephoto lenses, and somebody had tipped them off. and we thought that we had avoided any undue presence, and they were there. the leaking of information was constant. that was a tremendous challenge. and also a government that was very helpful at the beginning because the saw dari
government -- zardari government had requested it, they received us quite warmly, they provided the logistic support, the security support, but as the promises went on and the commission began to investigate in an independent fashion and asking hard questions and maybe stepping on some toes, we felt increasingly less welcome than at the beginning, and the cooperation was not full. even on the part of the government with. aside from the fact that we faced a lot of individuals in sectors that did not want the investigation and that, obviously, wanted harm for benazir bhutto, they wanted this -- [inaudible] killed. those sectors obviously were not happy about our presence in pakistan. >> host: what do you mean those sectors? can you expand on that a little
bit? >> guest: well, benazir bhutto was particularly fearful of what she called the establishment constituted by the intelligence services, sectors of the high levels of the to military, business leaders, some party leaders and elements of the bureaucracy. the powers that be, the de facto power structure of pakistan. and she particularly feared the intelligence services. and she had even identified in a letter to musharraf who at the time was the dictator, general musharraf, three individuals who she feared were very close to musharraf, subjects of musharraf that she feel would attack her or organize attacks against her. one was a former head of the isi, the major intelligence agency in pakistan. the other one was a serving
chief of the intelligence bureau, another intelligence service of pakistan. and the third was a chief minister of punjab province. so that those individuals evidently did not want us there. in fact, a former head of the isi whom she identified and feared because the individual had tried to unseat we are hen she was -- her when she was prime minister and had been behind it the first time benazir bhutto was prime minister in 1998, we wanted to interview him, and he rejected outright any contact with the commission. so we had a lot of those individuals. but beyond that, obviously, there was al-qaeda -- >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: and the pakistani taliban hated benazir bhutto for what she stood for. she was a leader of an islamic
country. she had been already, and she was probably going to be again. second, she was western educated. she had gone to a catholic school, then come to radcliffe, to harvard and then to oxford, so she was western educated. she spoke better english than you err due. she got into politics only after her father was assassinated, was happeninged by the dick -- hanged by the dictatorship in the '70s. other than that she was accused of being a shia by the sunni radicals. all of this aside from the fact that she was seen as very close to the united states made her a target by all those individuals. and these individuals, obviously, were a threat to us. so there was an issue of security of our own that was always very present. we were, when we went into pakistan, in and out during the investigation, we stayed at a security house, not at a hotel.
we had forbidden any place where we could stay that would have public access. so the issue of security was very much in our minds and in the minds of people around us. >> host: right. i want to go back to something that you had mentioned which is the idea that benazir was aware of the threat against her life and had expressed fear over those threats and had even written a letter naming people before she was assassinated. yet, you know, i observed her coming when she came home, her first rally which was also attacked by bombers. she was out from behind her bulletproof screen, you know, not abiding by security precautions, you know, in the weeks leading up to her death she was out and not going behind a bulletproof screen. and you could argue that on the very day that this happened, she was coming out of her sunroof and waving at the crowds. so how do you balance that, the
whole idea that, like, you know, was she afraid for her life if she was behaving like that? did she talk to folks about that contradiction? >> guest: we did. and there's a typical contradiction of a political leader, a political leader at a time of elections. she felt that, first, she needed to go back to pakistan because he had been nine years in this voluntary exile, and she felt that she needed to go back in order to recuperate democracy. at the time musharraf was a dictator, he attacked the head of the supreme court, he had declared martial law, he -- i mean, suicide bombings were increasing. instability was, unfortunately, reigning over pakistan. and she felt that she was part of the answer to regain stability and democracy and rule
of law. so that that was a first commitment that she had. she was very aware of the threats against her, and a lot of information, intelligence information had been passed on to her. what happened, though, musharraf simply passed on information to her and then washed his hands and didn't do anything about it except passing on the information. she was actually a bit pessimistic about what could transpire when she arrived in pakistan. there's an anecdote that i put in the book about a flight over two months before going back to pakistan in october of 2007. she flies to answer helm together with -- [inaudible] and his wife who was the u.s. ambassador to afghanistan and
the u.s. ambassador to the united nations. they were going on in this private plane, and as they're flying, a stewardess offers benazir bhutto some freshly-baked cookies, and she says, no, no, no, i'm trying to lose weight, i'm on a diet. and then she calls the steward december and says, you know, what the heck, give me the cookies, i'll be dead in two months any hour. so this is an example of black humor. i think it indicated to her that she was perfectly aware of the threat that she was going to face, and she risked herself by coming out in the sunroof or escape hatch of vehicle because she was containing. she felt that her duty was to contain. the duty of the government to protect her. it wasn't her duty to recollect herself. -- protect herself. she was a former prime minister, she was entitled to protection on part of the state of
pakistan. it was the duty of musharraf to provide that protection so that she felt that if she didn't go out, if she didn't press the flesh as the politicians say, she wouldn't get the votes for an electoral victory at the end of the year. and we, throughout the investigation process, we discovered a letter sent by musharraf to provincial heads to provide security which is the top security that you could have to other former prime ministers who were associates of, political associates of musharraf, but not to benazir bhutto. in other words, there was, you know, purposeful exclusion of benazir bhutto from the type of top protection, security protection that she deserved. be that's an element that has to be taken into account. but she risked herself, without a doubt, because she felt that she needed to be close to the people. >> host: yeah.
i found it interesting that that letter was written after the first attack on her convoy when she first got back -- >> guest: exactly. and as you well mentioned, the fact is everybody knew that the minute she arrived in pakistan after her exile, she learns in karachi, and she goes in a convoy with hundreds of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people awaiting her as she goes to the mausoleum of the founder of the country, and there's this huge bomb attack that kills 145 people. knowing that, he wasn't afforded the protection she -- she budget afforded the protection she needed. there was no more dramatic proof of the danger that she was in than that attack in karachi. and nevertheless, she wasn't afforded the protection that she was entitled to. >> host: uh-uh huh. one of the interesting conclusions, and i sound it pretty bold for a diplomat to actually come out and say what he thinks as opposed to being
diplomatic, is that the police deliberately botched this investigation which, that's pretty strong language. can you talk a little bit about the role of the police and the investigation into her assassination and particularly the role of the police chief? >> guest: yes, right. well, i feel that one can be a diplomat, but one has to speak truth to power. and in that sense we were given a task, and we had to do it, and protocol is not needed in a report or in a book where you try to uncover the truth. in this case we say that the police, in fact, did a cover-up because they washed the scene of the crime an hour and 40 minutes after the bombing, the suicide bombing occurred. this is unbelievable because, i mean, anyone knows -- even people that watch tv anywhere because of this csi shows --
knows that you, the first thing you do is you secure the scene of a crime for evidence. well, these people washed with fire high trant hoses -- hydrant hoses at the scene of the crime so that when we went to scotland yard and we spent hours and hours with scotland yard forensic investigators that have actually done a investigation into the cause of death of benazir bhutto, and they told us that on a case like that of a bombing of that nature there would with be thousands of pieces of evidence. however, only 23 pieces were recovered because of that. who ordered that, i would be very incredulous if i was going to be told that the chief, the local chief of police did it on his own. he didn't. there was somebody higher up.
and we're clear because of witnesses that he had received phone calls to the extent of washing up the scene. and later on the same police, the head of the police and his deputy were present -- at least the head of the police -- at the hospital where benazir bhutto was taken to try to be saved, resuscitated. and she was not. and once she was declared dead by the doctor in charge, he asked permission from the police to do an autopsy. and three times he asked, and the three times the chief of police denied that request. and it was up to, according to pakistani law, to the police to authorize an autopsy, not to medical personnel. and nevertheless, he denied that. all of that configures an attitude that was deliberate.
in fact, when there's a team that the next day arrives, a joint investigating team composed of several agencies of the police that arrived in this particular case, he begins biding time -- [inaudible] then it's too late to go and see the scene of the crime. then the next day he offers them lunch, he says, you know, why do you want to go and investigate? because at the same time, the government was announcing -- >> host: they had solved it. >> guest: yeah, solved the case within 24 hours saying that who was the culprit, the head of the ttp or the taliban, the pakistani taliban, and she had hit her head against the lever of the sunroof. that was his testimony. why do you want to investigate? the case is solved. >> host: right. why waste your time? have some lunch. >> guest: exactly. and these police, because they felt their duty they nevertheless at night following
after all of these delaying tactics went to the place and actually discover a bullet casing and discovered two or three pieces because of they were, you know, professional enough to have done that. so all of that, i think, configures a picture of the police on a deliberate path of putting off and engaging a cover-up of this assassination. >> host: so who would you think might have made those phone calls to the police saying make this disappear? >> guest: well, there were evidence that when, at least when the chief of the police was in the hospital and denying the autopsy, that he received a phone call of the deputy of the isi, of the intelligence. of we interrogated this person -- >> host: this deputy. >> guest: this deputy of the intelligence services. and he denied to us he had done that phone call. and when we demonstrate to him because we had evidence that he
had -- >> host: did you have the phone records? >> guest: no, we didn't have phone records, but we had a lot of testimonies about, even about the time that this had occurred, then he recalled that he had. and be he said, yes, well, after he lied to us, he says, yes, okay, i called. but i only called to find out whether benazir bhutto had been declared dead so that i could tell hi superiors -- tell my superiors and be sure that that was the information that i was transmilting, that it was strong information. whatever the reason, the fact is that there were phone calls. and, again, i would doubt very much that the head of local police department would have acted on his own on this. he either receiving instructions, or he felt there might have been responsibles higher up and in a defensive way that did this to protect himself and higher ups just in case.
either the two hypothesis shows that this was a deliberate, you know, a deliberate obstruction of the investigation process. >> host: sure. so you, what you found out then is you've got the police hiding things, not looking for evidence, collecting their magic 23 pieces of evidence. immediately you've got -- [inaudible] blamed, and there's a press conference saying, you know, this is all sewn up. we've got this wiretap, we know he's dope it. you know -- he's done it. you know, why would they do that if they were not involved in the assassination? what is your explanation of why this happened? >> guest: it's a good question, and perhaps simply musharraf wanted to get the issue done with immediately and not have it dragged and become a challenge to his own authority. but in the end, that's precisely what occurred.
because the people in the streets were irate, the political elite just was in disbelief, and even associates of musharraf thought it was a very bad idea to have done that. so that it backfired in the end. and he was, in fact, forced, pressured to have that scotland yard team come in to try to investigate at least the cause of death. only that forensic team. and it's very interesting because we had interviews with the head of the isi during the investigation and with the head of the army. and at least the head of the army, general kayani, said to me that there was no firm evidence that -- no firm evidence that he had committed the crime, and you could not simply assign
responsibility on the basis of a tape which -- >> host: could have been -- >> guest: the government had shown. yeah. so clearly, this was a deliberate move on the part of the musharraf government to simply end with a controversy and actually blame benazir bhutto. because that was always the perspective of musharraf government, blame her. in other words, she was the one that stood out through the escape hatch of to say hello to the crowd. she shouldn't have. she was responsible. so that was very much the idea when she was a victim. and, actually, i mean, she should have been protected. and there was no protection. they say that there was a box formation of an elite force of policemen that would accompany her into the rally, political rally where she was killed and after. that wasn't there. we saw videos, we saw pictures,
we talked to numerous witnesses. we interviewed 250 people, and all of the people we interview saw no box formation, no elite force police protection. and that was the duty of the government. that was the duty of musharraf. so instead of having done that press conference assigning already guilt to the wrong man and cause of death, perhaps he should have done a true investigation that would have led into a different direction. but that was complicated because probably some of the associates would have been called to to testify. >> host: right, right. well, this is a fascinating conversation. we're going to take a quick break, and we're going to be right back. thanks very much. >> guest: thank you. >> on the go? >> on the go? po "after words" is available via i
of t pass click podcasts on the uppee left side of the page. select which podcast you would like to download and listen to "after words" after you travel. i wanted to start by asking you point-blank, do you think musharraf had any role in the assassination, the actual assassination of benazir bhutto? >> guest: well, let me answer that by saying the following thing: benazir bhutto had a conversation with musharraf that there are witnesses to that conversation where benazir bhutto asked for protection before going back and asked him whether the u.s. government had called him to request that protection. because benazir had lobbied the u.s. congress and the white house. and musharraf responded, look, the americans can call all they
want, but your security -- said to benazir bhutto -- depends on the state of our mutual relationship. so he was telling very point blank to benazir that her security depended on how he felt their relationship was going. and he sent a letter to -- actually, an e-mail to wolf blitzer, an e-mail to be known only if she were to be killed. and in that e-mail she blames musharraf because, she says, he made her feel insecure due to the minions, the associates around him. i think that any responsibility, penal responsibility has to be established by the courts. it is the courts publish who's
guilty or -- establish who's guilty or who's exonerated. but i think there's a political and moral responsibility on the part of musharraf because he just did not provide the protection that she requested so many times. not only musharraf, i like to even say that the united states and the u.k. promoted her return to pakistan because it was part of a deal that would have enough stability for pakistan and at the same time confront terrorism, particularly the taliban that were helping the fight against american troops if afghanistan. but they did not do anything to provide the security that she needed to go back. i mean, they stimulated her, even they pressure her to do a deal with musharraf, but they did not provide security. so in the end here it's difficult to point a finger against one single actor. i was trying to respond to questions, so who's guilty here
behind the assassination, and i came up with this metaphor using a spanish play of the 17th century. the name of a village in spain. and the story is that there was a ruler of this village that was very hated by the pop tolation -- population, and one day he's assassinated. and a judge arrives from another town to investigate the assassination and begins interrogating the villagers s and they all respond that -- [inaudible] did it. in other words, the village did it. and the judge goes one after the other, and the villagers continue to say it. he becomes irate and tortures some of them, and they stick to the story. they don't point to anybody in particular. i think the metaphor can be applied to benazir bhutto. there were many people that wanted her dead. al-qaeda, for sure, had, you know, ordered the assassination, and the pakistani taliban
evidently did. nobody believes that the kid, because it was a kid the one that fired -- he was 16, 15 and a half years old. nobody believes that he was the one that did it alone, there was nobody behind. so the act standny taliban, musharraf, i think, had a political and moral responsibility because he facilitated the crime by not protecting her. i think the people around her, her own security team surrender because of inexcusable omissionings. and i could get into that. and in addition to that, the u.s. and the u.k. did not provide any security. they did not pressure musharraf sufficiently or were not able to get the results from musharraf. and in the be end, the police -- in the end, the police did a cover-up. and in the end, a lot of the political actors in pakistan, my feeling was, would rather turn the page than find out who
really did it. and be that's why i feel that this will be surrounded in an aura of mystery for a long time. >> host: what do you think about what's happening with musharraf now and the fact that he has been charged? >> guest: well, it's very interesting because -- [inaudible] of our report, a terrorist court opened the case. and, first of all, they began to interrogate the local police, they indicted the local police, they arrested them, and then they indicted musharraf. they seized his assets when he was abroad, and when he returned to pakistan, he was put into house arrest. the case is ongoing right now. so that at least there have been concrete action on the part of the pakistani courts. adding to the mystery, the state prosecutor in the bhutto case
was assassinated six months ago as he drove to the court to a hearing on the bhutto case, on the benazir bhutto case. he was assassinated, riddled with bullets. was it directly linked to the bhutto case? many believe so. many think that it would have been taliban terrorists because of that and other cases. but at least the court cases are still ongoing. >> host: one of the major figures in your book is a guy by the name of raymond malik who was security for bhutto. can you talk a bit about him, your sewer actions with him -- interactions with him and how they changed? >> well, he was the minister of the interior at the time of our investigation. in other words, he served with the zardari government and had
been, in fact, a security adviser to benazir bhutto, a close associate. many said that he was the person in charge of her security. he said to us, no, i wasn't, i was a national security adviser, but most people that we interviewed said that, no, he was in charge of the actual security. >> host: that was my understanding when i was there. >> guest: exactly. so we all understood that, and that was the case in our judgment. he was our contact person. he was a surprising figure. very warm to us when we arrived, very surprising because the first meeting that we had in pakistan when we went, he presented us with document, 70-page document that was supposed to be our report. he said this is what we gather, all the investigation that we've done. this is your report. >> host: that was nice of him. he did your work for you.
>> guest: he said you can change it if you want. basically he was saying go and do your tourism, don't worry, we've done it for you. >> host: here's some lunch. >> guest: i was astonished, and i looked at my commissioners because i, i don't think that he understood this this was going to be a serious and an independent investigation no matter what. and i think that he began feeling uncomfortable as we began asking questions about his role because he had been in a backup vehicle, in a backup black mercedes, bulletproof black mercedes at the time of the assassination. and this backup car, as any backup vehicle, was to be there as a support vehicle in case the vehicle of benazir bhutto was attacked. and when the assassination occurs, the political rally ends, and they are ready to leave. first of all, the security's not around, the police to avoid the
crowd from going around the vehicles. but this black backup car is nowhere to be found. and we reviewed dozens of videos and photographs, and we never found that vehicle. and we asked him because we knew that he was riding in that vehicle, where was the vehicle, and he was always telling us we'll talk about this some other time. and he never responded right out the questions that we were making about where was this vehicle. the vehicle was at least 250 yards away. close enough so that they heard the explosion. despite the fact that they heard the explosion, the car went left, and they went to the zardari house which was ben sirh bhutto's house in islamabad. instead of staying there because it was a backup vehicle, they didn't even stop on the way to find out whether she had been hurt or not.
this was inexcusable. and we sound that out through the investigation, through testimonies. in fact, the vehicle of benazir bhutto's is severely damaged but is still is able to move. tries to go to the hospital, but it -- the tires have been blown off, so it is riding on the rims. and does not make it except halfway to the hospital and collapses. she has to be transported to a vehicle of a party leader that is, happens to go by. and that's how she arrives to the hospital. there should have been the backup car, and maybe she could have been saved. who knows, if that backup vehicle had been there. so all of that, i think, put us into a very uncomfortable relationship with raymond malik, and we announced that the disappearance of the backup vehicle is inexcusable for a
security entourage. but in addition to that, he was very unhelpful when we wanted to interview the head of the isi and the head of the army. in fact, i sent a private note to him about, requesting access to the isi and the army, and he responded publicly through the press saying the army and intelligence services are off limits because they have nothing to do. well, it so happens that benazir bhutto thought that the intelligence services had a lot to do with her assassination. we had to interview them. they are power factor in the pakistan, and everybody knows that. he was telling us publicly that we wouldn't have any access. so i said publicly i won't go back to pakistan with my team, because if that is the case, then we have nothing to do back this pakistan. >> host: right. >> guest: we did some pushing and shoving, and we were given the interview with the head of
the isi, a good interview, by the way, very useful. and with the head of the army, i was given some very particular conditions to have that interview. i was going to be alone without the two commissioners that were my colleagues, without any member of my staff to take notes, without the security entourage that always accompanied me. only one vehicle and one armed u.n. policeman. i accepted all that despite the fact that my colleagues -- >> host: well, they must have been saying what are you thinking, man? >> guest: they strongly disagreed with me, but i thought -- i asked for the interview, i had to go with. and i had the interview with kayani. of it was quite interesting. and that night i arrived to the security house, and i tell my colleagues all the information of the secret meeting, and it so happens that next day at 8:00 in the morning we open the papers,
and it's everywhere, my secret meeting with the head of the army. who leaked it? i don't know. but my suspicions are that it was somebody this in the governt and in the ministry of interior. so all of this to say that the cooperation we got at the beginning slowly began to be more and more doubtful, weaker as the process of investigation came along and maybe even began stepping on some toes. >> host: do you have any suspicions about the role of ray monday malick in the assassination, or it's more like he left because he left and he didn't want to be called out on that? >> guest: no, i don't think he had any role whatsoever. he was very close to benazir bhutto, but i think he was simply trying to save his skin. because we know that in cases of
bombing, a first bomb sometimes is followed by a second bomb a few minutes later. so maybe it was just a matter of the most, the basest of humanity, of saving your own and not being caught in the crossfire of war and terror as was the case. so i don't think it was more than that. it was simply the total lack of responsibility and doing your duty even in danger when you ought to do it. despite the fact that he was also a target. he was a target like benazir bhutto. >> host: oh, in fact, he told you that, right? >> guest: he told us that he was a target and he had received information that both he and benazir bhutto were targets. and i have no doubt that that might be the case because, obviously, the taliban targeted
the musharraf, of course. they attacked him twice because they saw him cooperating with the united states in pursuing some of the mill -- militants. i wouldn't doubt that story either. >> host: can we talk a bit about spy craft? because, i mean, that's what, you know, we found that as journalists in pakistan you were always taking these strange precautions to make sure you weren't being eavesdropped on by the agencies, you'd be followed when you were going down the street, you'd have people coming up and asking your driver who is this person if you went to, say, the afghan or indian embassies, and you'd write about your cook and your suspicions that your cook was eavesdropping, you write about walking in the garden to try to avoid bugs inside the -- [inaudible] house. can you talk about the double game that you yourselves were playing to try to make it so the leaks would not appear in the press about what you were doing or even thinking? >> guest: well, one of the greatest surprises was that we had was when we first arrive in
pakistan to the safehouse and the cook who spoke no english, talk only you erdu had detailed agenda. i was astonished, how could the cook have our agenda? and i was given a sons that seemed rational but was not. they said, well, he has to know, because he has to know when are you going to be taking meals at house. >> host: meals are very important in pakistan. >> guest: meals are very important. so that was one story. and, obviously, when we wanted to make sure that our conversations would be only our own conversations and not somebody else's conversations or would be accessed by others, we would walk in the scorching sun sometimes outside, outside this compound where we were in order
to exchange information with our colleagues. the first -- when we ended the first visit and we were going back, coming back to new york, at the airport in the vip lounge there were various people that took us there. and there was a hand who identified himself as a diplomatically yeason. and as i was looking through some papers, he came over and sat with me and said so how was the visit? it was fine. so tell me, what are you suspicions about who committed the assassination? i looked at him and said, well, you know, our commission is not supposed to identify accomplice here. our duty is to identify the facts and the circumstances. and he says, well, but just in case as a hunch, what would you think committed the crime?
and i said, well, i just told you that our mission is not to identify culprits. and then the guy says, well, no, no, no, i'm asking you merely as a hypothesis. let's say just as a hypothesis. who do you think did it? by the third time, this guy was fishing for information, and i said, look, you know, i already told you. and i stood up and went to the other side of the lounge. and i was very annoyed because it was, obviously, a very poor intelligence operation to try to get information. and as we were on the plane about ready to leave, i tell one of my colleagues what had happened to me, and he tells me that is exactly what happened to me with the same guy. well, that diplomatic liaison we never saw again when we came back to pakistan. so these were the little issues that we had constantly.
that made it even more challenging to do an investigation that was already complex. >> host: were you careful when you were using your phones? did you use different phones? >> guest: we were very careful about using phones, and we had a special -- after they hacked my e-mail, we -- i i never used that account again. and we used some encrypted accounts. >> host: and the nsa was probably watching that. >> guest: probably. [laughter] well, i told, you know, i told my chief of staff who was very upset about when this happened, i said to him, look, you probably are thinking that the bad guys in act stand did this -- pakistan did this. it could have been many other people that are doing this, that want to listen about what's going on. i said, so don't worry, i said. here there will be a lot of interested parties, even other states, i said, that might want to know what's going on.
so let us not worry excessively because otherwise we will immobilize ourselves in the process of the investigation, and i don't want that. there are risks, yes. we have to minimize the risks, we have to have good protection. but aside from that, let's just do things as if this were as normal an investigation as possible. >> host: how many days total did you spend on pakistan -- in pakistan on those three trips? >> guest: oh, i don't know. difficult to say. fifteen days or so. in addition to that, we went to other countries. we went to england, we went to united arab emirates. i interviewed musharraf in, near philadelphia of all places. >> host: uh-huh. what did he tell you? >> guest: well, i mean, sort of the official story. one of the things that i asked him was there ever, was there ever a deal, why were you so mad about benazir bhutto when she
came back? and he said there was no deal, you know? 200% sure there was no deal. and that the deal, there are various versions. one was that, evidently, that benazir bhutto could go back, they would lift the accusations of corruption against her and her husband, they would allow her to run without impediments of her becoming again prime minister because there had been a legal impediment passed in congress. and at the same time, she would support musharraf to be reelected president so long as he shed his uniform. in other words, he went into retirement. he would not be the head of the army and president. and the idea was that he would be president, she would be prime minister. all of that was never closed, and he confirmed that. and he was very adamant about
her not coming back before the election. and, in fact, he had told benazir that why wouldn't they celebrate new year's in pakistan, that she should come back in new year's. thus, she would not contain. and she felt on the contrary that she had to be there. >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: you had to press the flesh, you had to be in contact with the people. the only way to insure electoral victory is if you contain. you cannot win election if you're in dubai or london. so she felt that despite the fact that there budget -- wasn't a full, guaranteed deal between the two, she had to go back. and that enraged musharraf. i mean, he was very, very upset about the fact that he felt that the sort of terms of the deal, almost deal had been violated by her going back. and that's what came very clearly through that, through
that interview. not much more because it was, there was one thing that i thought was very interesting because i fought a dictatorship in my own country when i was a dissident against a dictatorship. and i heard many times particularly after we recuperated democracy and he was put on trial and he began to confront his own security head and began to say, look, i had nothing -- i was the president, you know? i didn't see the day-to-day running of the government, so i don't know who was torturing. this wasn't my responsibility. i was president. it was the other guys that, you know? how m a i -- how am i going to know if shall be was tortured? well, the same thing was told to me by musharraf. it was so much in this my find, pin they, i was the president, i didn't know what the security forces were doing, i didn't know
what even the prime minister was doing. i was the president, i was above will. they couldn't control what was going on in the country. that was something that was very stuck in my mind. many dictators try to give you that line to declare themselves innocent of what transpires under their, under their watch. >> host: uh-huh. so, basically, you're on the ground though in pakistan for maybe 15 days. and one of the most difficult things i found reporting in pakistan was trying to sort truth from fiction, right? i mean, i remember going to the hometown of the main, the surviving bomber in mumbai, and i'd been told that this was the hometown of the surviving bomber in mumbai, been told that by be-and-a-half what with sharif who's now the prime minister of pakistan. and i go to this town, and everybody in this town says,
nope, this is not the place you're looking for. in fact, that's incorrect. everybody said this. everybody as a person said this. another reporter who went there actually found that they had set up a fake family in the house where the guy was from. how do you establish fact in an environment like that? how do you know that, like, the conclusions you're coming up with actually true? >> you have to talk to a lot of people. and we did. so we confronted stories with various people to know whether what we were being told was true or not. there were some, of course, associates that we couldn't prove, and you have to use your best judgment to sort of try to ascertain whether what you are getting as information is true information or false. but in most cases we went through a very thorough investigation and checking with various people about a single
incident. we would go and check with various people. for example, there was this story that benazir when she was in the vehicle, she emerges to say hello to the crowd, that she did it on her own. but there was one story, one person that said, no, that somebody in the vehicle had told her why don't you just stand up and say hello to the crowd. and we investigated that version, and we couldn't confirm it. there was only one source. and we concluded that that source was a source that wanted to blame this person. and it became clear that it was benazir bhutto of her own volition who had stood up and decided to say hello to the crowd. in fact, seconds before or the assassination what happens is that she had been informed that a rally by ma war sharif who at
the time was her ally because both of them had formed a sort of coalition for democracy had suffered, some of them, some of the people in his rally had been killed in a shootout. so he and benazir, she wanted to call him to offer condolences. so she says why don't we call him, and then she said after i say hello, shout some slogans, and then she decides to emerge. there we have a version that we could have perfectly have taken if we hadn't consulted a lot of other people that could not confirm that version. but as you well know and a lot of people know, pakistan's a place of conspiracy theories, of
>> looked at the united ates 60 ars the american public believed that it was a symbol shooter. >> we at least know that he was shot. we know there was not topsy, and the best occasion. we don't need it now. >> it is surrounded in mystery and speculation. in the case of pakistan in the history of that. one of the amazing stories of the 19 bit